Sunday, August 10, 2008


It has NOT been a quiet week here at mi casa in the lovely Sacramento Valley. My sister and brother-in-law have been visiting since last Sunday so there has been much going on. By that I mean good eats, good drink, three good movies, much very good talk, a visit from one of her high school classmates, more good eats, drink, etc. The weather was absolutely perfect; warnm and bright but not hot. We ate dinner outdoors every night. As I have said before in these pages, the social ramble ain't restful. They left this morning to drive back to San Diego. Now I must red up the place for the arrival this afternoon of old and dear friend from Baltimore. She'll be here until Wednesday morning when she will take me to the airport to catch the JetBlue® to Long Beach to visit Alex et al. All of this is by way of explaining why these pages have been blank for the past few days.

What we saw
Three movies were on the entertainment menu:

Paris, Je t'aime
I am the first to admit that I am a complete Francophile. I never tire of reading about, looking at or, mostly, visiting this wonderful place. Paris especially. I haven't been since 2005 and am NOT happy about that. But it's just too expensive to travel in Europe these days. Anyway, I love this movie; bite-sized stories about the real (and imagined) Paris. This is my second viewing. I'll probably go for a third.

The Great Debaters
A feel-good movie with a couple of feel-bad scenes. A group of true grit students from a nowhere college take on the Eastern establishment Ivy League (aka Harvard) in a debate. Set in 1936. Denzel Washington is, as always, a pleasure to watch. Forrest Whitaker ditto. And Forrest's son, also named Denzel, in a wonderful performance as a 15 year old whiz who has all the aches and longings of adolescence writ large in his eyes and smile. Only one Kleenex@ needed.

First let me say that this made-for-TV movie requires an entire box of Kleenex®. But it's worth every sniffle and sob. Emma Thompson, whom I first saw as Harriet Pringle in Fortunes of War, the 1987 BBC Masterpiece Theater mini-series, is brilliant as the dying Vivian Bearing. If this Broadway play had been made into a commercial movie instead of one for TV she would have ~ should have ~ walked off with every award possible.

Drink Discovery

While in Bozeman a few weeks ago Mike and Cait served a luscious Zinfandel for dinner. Its label reads "7 Deadly Zins". I scoured the local wine shelves but couldn't find it. Bless him, the Patient located a bottle and brought it home as a treat. And it was. As it says on the label, "Seven of Lodi's Best Growers gave their souls to produce this one-of-a-kind sinful blend of seven old vine deadly zins." If you like reds and can find it, give it a sampling. And don't neglect to read the wonderful poem on the back, written by Kevin Phillips, perhaps the father or brother of the two vintners, Michael and David Phillips. Or just fine a bottle somewhere and enjoy the poem.

Beds have been made, towels washed, roses clipped from neighbor's yard to decorate the guest room. I think all is in readiness for next visitor. Until she arrives I'll collapse poolside, finish up my Barbara Vine and begin my next reading project "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich", an homage to Solzhenitsyn. I skipped most of today's talk shows because I don't want to hear one more word about John Edward's peccadilloes. I didn't like him in 2004 and I don't like him now.


At 6:24 PM, Blogger ddmichel said...

Glad your back! Sisters photo??

At 4:56 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

I wish you would write everyday! Yes, those are 3 good movies, I forgot about "Wit" ~ can't you see it as a play? You are having such a busy summer...


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